Project Project
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The Effect of Aggregated Intergroup Contact on Ethnic Minorities

Research Fields
Migration, Integration, and Intercultural Conflicts
Miles Hewstone (Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict, University of Oxford, UK)

Theoretical background and objectives

The two main findings in the recent intergroup contact literature can be summarized as follows: Intergroup contact reduces bias in members of majority groups (Tropp & Pettigrew, 2005), and intergroup contact reduces in-group solidarity and perceptions of discrimination in members of minority groups (Dixon et al., 2012). Traditionally, this literature focuses on individual-level contact, i.e. how much contact one person/the participant has with members of the out-group. Recently, scholars have expanded the notion of contact to consider aggregated intergroup contact, i.e. how much contact in-group members/the group of the participant have with members of the out-group. This work tests and finds that the first insight about contact from the individual-level, that it reduces bias in majority group members, holds true also for the aggregate level (Christ et al., 2014). Yet the second insight, that contact reduces in-group solidarity and perceptions of discrimination in members of minority groups, has not been investigated at the aggregate level so far and is the focus of our project.

This project is thus an opportunity to de-construct notions of “aggregated contact” and potentially challenge how researchers operationalize this variable. Is aggregated contact the same construct as individual contact but at the macro-level or is it an entirely different phenomenon? If many individuals of my group have contact with the out-group does this mean that perceptions of reduced prejudice and reduced in-group solidarity are a reflection of a changed reality? What is the relationship between aggregated contact, ethnic diversity and structural inequality, and what are contextual moderators of this relationship?

Research design, data and methodology

Methodologically we investigate this question by applying multi-level modelling techniques to the CILS dataset. We may also use Eurislam and-or EDCAS datasets.